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Financial sustainability Coronavirus

Press release: Charities fear Christmas cash crisis

The latest data from the social sector lays bare the stark need for more government support for charitable organisations. The results from our latest Covid Charity Tracker Report show charities now face a very difficult winter.

One in five charities (19%) believe it is unlikely they will be able to deliver their services adequately over Christmas, with the figures rising to almost a third (28%) of smaller charities.

The end of the calendar year is a crucial time for fundraising, with nearly half (44%) of charities reporting raising a quite or very significant amount of their income from donations in the Winter season in a normal year.

However, the continued impact of social distancing and local restrictions on charities being able to run fundraising events and activity is set to have serious consequences for the ability of charities to fund future services. Today’s survey shows:

  • 46% of charities overall expect to see fewer donations than normal over Christmas
  • 40% of small charities expecting to see Christmas fundraising fall by over 25%
  • 55% of small charities anticipating fewer donations than normal over the Christmas period

This data, from the Covid Charity Tracker which is published by independent charity Pro Bono Economics in partnership with Charity Finance Group and the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, shows government help is failing to make a dent in the £10billion funding gap charities face.

Charities are clear about the help that they need. 68% says additional financial resources are needed, while 41% are seeking certainty over future social distancing requirements.

Caron Bradshaw, Chief Executive of Charity Finance Group, said:

“There is now a mountain of evidence that charities need further financial support before it is too late. We are running out of road and the government can’t bury its head in the sand on this issue anymore. Tens of thousands of jobs are being lost from the sector. There is a yawning, multi-billion pound hole in charities’ finances which is threatening to fatally undermine the work they do across our nation and in the heart of our communities.

“Government urgently has to determine what kind of society it wants. We cannot be expected to be first in line to provide support but last in line to receive it. A fraction of the fiscal support that has been provided to support business has been extended to charity, once again failing to recognise the critical financial and non-financial impact social change organisations have on society and the economy. If the government turns its back on the sector now it is hard to see how the levelling up agenda or aspirations to ‘build back better’ can be achieved.”

Daniel Fluskey, Head of Policy and External Affairs, Chartered Institute of Fundraising, said:

“Many charities rely on their fundraising activity around Christmas to provide the funds needed to fund services for the year ahead. We believe that people will still want to give what they can, but the cancellation of community events, such as winter fairs, carol concerts, quiz nights, or working with local schools, scout groups, and businesses will cause severe disruption, leaving a big hole in the income that charities need. At a time where fundraising continues to be severely disrupted, we need the Government to step in with appropriate support for charities to keep vital services running."

Matt Whittaker, CEO of Pro Bono Economics, said:

“Our data consistently shows a charity sector desperately trying to balance rising demand and diminished resources. Organisations have shown remarkable resolve, continuing to support millions of people up and down the country with a whole range of challenges – from physical and mental health to domestic violence, and from issues around education and employment to financial hardship. But the equation simply doesn’t add up. Without government intervention, it’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that many more people will be left without the help that they need.”

Download the Covid Charity Tracker Survey (October 2020).

 

Key findings:

 

What additional support would help you deliver on your objectives in the next 12 months?

 

Total

Smaller

Larger

Additional financial resources

68%

73%

64%

Certainty over future social distancing requirements

41%

38%

43%

Opportunities to partner/collaborate with other charities

26%

25%

27%

More clarity on current social distancing requirements

21%

19%

22%

Extension of the Job Retention Scheme or a successor programme

19%

15%

20%

More volunteers

17%

19%

15%

We do not need any additional support

7%

2%

10%

Don't know

1%

1%

1%

 

Approximately what proportion of your current headcount do you expect to make redundant as a result of the end of the Job Retention Scheme?

 

Total

Smaller

Larger

Do not expect staff to be made redundant

71%

73%

70%

1 - 10%

15%

11%

18%

11 – 25%

4%

3%

5%

26 – 50%

3%

2%

3%

51 – 75%

0%

0%

0%

Over 75%

1%

2%

0%

Don’t know

6%

11%

3%

 

Do you expect to use the government’s Job Support Scheme?

 

Total

Smaller

Larger

Yes

10%

11%

10%

No

68%

72%

65%

Need more information

9%

7%

10%

Don’t know

13%

11%

15%

 

Have you already applied for, or intending to apply for a government backed loan scheme?

 

Total

Smaller

Larger

Yes, we have already applied

7%

1%

11%

We intend to apply

3%

3%

3%

We haven’t applied and don’t intend to

82%

88%

77%

Don’t know

8%

8%

9%

 

Typically, how significant are public donations, spending (e g in charity retail) or other fundraising activities over the Christmas period to your annual income?

 

Total

Smaller

Larger

Very significant

15%

16%

15%

Quite significant

29%

29%

28%

Neither significant nor insignificant

16%

22%

13%

Quite insignificant

13%

12%

13%

Very insignificant

9%

8%

9%

Not applicable

18%

12%

22%

Don’t know

1%

1%

1%

 

And for your donation income over this Christmas period, what difference roughly are you expecting compared to last year's Christmas campaign?

 

Total

Smaller

Larger

Over 25% less

25%

40%

16%

Up to 25% less

21%

15%

26%

No change

40%

37%

43%

Up to 25% more

3%

1%

5%

Over 25% more

0%

0%

0%

Don’t know

10%

7%

11%

 

How likely is it that you that you will be able to deliver your services adequately over Christmas?

 

Total

Smaller

Larger

Very likely

32%

30%

34%

Quite likely

26%

24%

28%

Neither likely nor unlikely

19%

17%

20%

Quite unlikely

11%

16%

8%

Very unlikely

8%

12%

6%

Don’t know

3%

1%

1%

 

21 October 2020

Notes to editors:

About Charity Finance Group:

Charity Finance Group (CFG) is the charity that inspires a financially confident, dynamic and trustworthy charity sector. We do this by championing best practice, nurturing leadership and influencing policy makers.

About the Chartered Institute of Fundraising:

The Chartered Institute of Fundraising is the professional membership body for UK fundraising. We support fundraisers through leadership and representation; best practice and compliance; education and networking; and we champion and promote fundraising as a career choice. We have over 6,000 individual members and over 600 organisational members who raise more than £10 billion in income for good causes every year.

About Pro Bono Economics:

PBE uses economics to support the social sector and to increase wellbeing across the UK. The charity combines project work for individual not-for-profits and social enterprises with policy research that can drive systemic change.

 

For further information, please contact:

Emma Abbott, Communications Manager, emma.abbott@cfg.org.uk, tel.: 07815189897 or Roberta Fusco, Director of Policy and Engagement, Roberta Fusco, roberta.fusco@cfg.org.uk

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